Zappos – Going to Extremes for customers!!!

I read a great article recently by the CEO of Zappos‘ Tony Hsieh on how they go that extra mile for their customers and that has resulted in phenomenal growth – from $184m in 2004 to over $1Billion turnover in 2009!!!

From humble beginnings in 1999, when Tony Hsieh invested $500,000 in what was universally considered a bad idea at the time: an online shoe store, Zappos quickly became the leading online apparel and footwear provider by striving to provide shoppers with the best possible service and selection. They offer millions of products from over 1000 different brands of clothing and shoes and are now owned by Amazon who bought them in 2009 for $1.2billion.

In 2004 they moved their entire workforce of 70 staff from San Francisco to Las Vegas to make use of the 24/7 customer service mentality and culture where people are used to thinking of customers as guests. It certainly paid off and was a great strategic decision.

They champion the telephone as one of the best branding devices they have – far better than social media and “integration marketing” – Tony says “you get the customers undivided attention for 5 – 10 minutes and if you get the interaction right they remember it for a long time and tell their friends about it.

How did they do it?

  • They make customers count and achieve exceptional customer service!!!
  • Make customer service a priority throughout the WHOLE company – not just a department
  • Empower employees – don’t let them have to escalate a problem to their supervisors
  • Fire customers who are insatiable…. yes we all have them!
  • Don’t measure call times and don’t use sales scripts – be yourself
  • Don’t hide your phone number – you WANT to talk to customers
  • View customer complaints as an investment – not an expense
  • Celebrate great service by telling exceptional stories to the entire company

Great pointers we can all use in our businesses… and if we do it well we might also get $1.2billion for ours?

Reference: “How I did it.. Zappos CEO on Going to Extremes for customers”

Steve Eastwood
Small Fish Business Coaching Melbourne

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